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Book Review - Sisterland


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My incredible reading group read this book in September. I'm telling you this because I don't think I would ever have picked this book up on my own. One of the ladies in the reading group recommended it and said that it spoke to her because she's a twin, so we decided to give it a go.

Generally, it is an interesting book. I mean, I read all 400 pages of Sisterland in about two and a half weeks, so it definitely kept me engaged and interested. I connected with the characters, especially the MC Kate who describes the daily grind of young motherhood in excruciatingly familiar details. Because of this connection I felt with Kate, I kept reading. I wanted to know what happens next, which is I assume what every author aims for.

But.

Four hundred pages. I'm convinced that a good editor would have been invaluable to this work. The back story, in the form of back-flashes, was unnecessary for the most part. It distracted from the story although it did work wonders to describe the relationship between the two sisters. However, I do think the relationship could have been described throughout the story instead of the jarring flash-backs to childhood and college years. The structure of the book didn't work for me, and most people in the reading group agreed. I would have gladly given up much of the backstory in favour of more details at the end of the story, which seemed rushed to me.

Also, I was a little disappointed because I felt that the author touched on several (probably too many) interesting topics but didn't drive the point home. For instance, she describes the daily grind and the loneliness of being a stay-at-home-mother of young children, but she doesn't say anything thoughtful about it. Kate's premonition can be seen as a self-fulfilling prophecy, but there's no reference to that which I think is a shame. And did you notice this is the first time I mentioned a premonition? The premise of the book is that the twins have "senses", but it reads more like a plot device than anything that the author wanted to say something about.

And the ending. I was expecting Kate to come to terms with her gift, but she didn't, which is I guess more original and less cliche. I liked that it was unusual in that way. However, it could be the reason that the ending felt unfinished to me; like we left Kate in the middle of a (much more interesting) story. I think I had this feeling because it doesn't seem like she'd learnt any lessons from her experiences.

So, overall, this book wasn't a favourite. It's a nice read if you like that sort of thing, but I've seen better work.

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